Sunday, March 31, 2013

Swords & Wizardry Session#1 : Into the Barrowmaze!

Our first session of Swords & Wizardry found the characters assembling in Mucktown,  in The Barony of Erinmoor. After rolling characters and randomly generating PC relationships, the party was made up of:

-Lurellar Umrani, elf magic-user and bounty hunter partnered with Tuisasopo (below)
-Slashinus Flay, elf warrior, and adopted sibling of Lurellar
-(Matt's thief- since deceased, name forgotten), half-elf thief and business associate of Slashinus
-Brother Corm, human cleric, caught Matt's thief in act and compelled him to help in quest to determine source of evil in Barrowmaze
- Brother Uriel, human cleric, on a pilgrimage with Corm to root out new source of evil in Barrowmaze
- Tuisasopo, human Skald (bard), fought in a war with Brother Uriel

The group recruited four hirelings before setting off: a elderly guide, a dirt poor teenage torchbearer/porter, a man at arms with a spear and a death wish, and his war dog Willow.

Below is a recap of the evening written written by one of the players, and from the viewpoint of Lurellar, the haughty, bigoted elf magic user who fashions himself the brains and leader of the group:

Anonymous Elvish Journal entry - Dirtville Day 1

I have finally assembled an acceptable group to shield me as I seek to fulfill my bounty contract and investigation of the barrow lands north of the human settlement Filth Town. Alongside my fellow bounty hunter and miner's canary/Skaldi bard is my adoptive elder brother Slashius, a pair of insufferably stuffy clerics of some human cult whose names sound like Dwarvish belches, and a skulking half blood in one or the other's service.

My brother and I selected acceptable accommodations at the human inn with the least disturbing odor while the others set about recruiting some of their fellow short lived with some familiarity regarding the local lands. That they did so in a tavern owned by a Dwarf of even greater than typical ill repute perhaps bodes poorly for the next day's adventures, but the men themselves seem competent to my eye. A sensible guide with a crossbow and another bodily function sounding name who seemingly possesses the wisdom not to cheaply accompany us into the tomb for one. Secondly a foully scented brute, wild eyed, hairy, and barely under control accompanied by his dog, whom I find to be of excellent taste.

Various tidbits of information about the human's questionable breeding habits (Bugs even?) and generally unpleasant disposition, as well as a subtly handled inquiry by my own self regarding worthy men of intellect in the town led to us composing a plan and the development of my personal intention of visiting an area mage of such standing that he has drawn together three acolytes, though perhaps not until I've something more to offer than my current piddling resources. We retired in good spirits, all chuckling at the jest the half human made by asking to share a room with me. After my ablutions and prayers I passed a quiet and calm night.

Mudburg Day 2

Waking in a human settlement must be much like awakening in a pig sty. The grunting and rustling of their repellent bodies, far too near my head, led me to conclude that a breeding chamber of some sort was present in the room on the other side of the wall by which my bed lay. Next the collaborative scent of them obtruded upon my senses, an odor so concentrated and repellant I could all but taste it's slimy sickness with each new breath. At the very least I had been spared the sight, all too often encountered at sunrise in camp when seeking a bounty's target, of one of their faces slackened by the little death of sleep and gape mouthed in a snore.

The party assembled in good order and time to begin our march northward. All were a bit nervous and the endless chatter of the common tongue began to grate after the first hour of walking, but all in all I was impressed. The journey was uneventful right to the opening into the barrow lands.

Perhaps I was the sole member of the party to feel a thrill of excitement as the clearly mystical fog came into view. This is why I ventured forth from Elvish society proper! To seek these sorts of experiences and perhaps learn their cause, or even learn to control their creation... the thought obsesses me.

An hour wading through mists that reek of death will dampen even the strongest of spirits, though, and by the time we came upon our first barrow I was quite bored. I watched the half human tamp about with his stick, and tamp some more, and poke and prod at bare stone, and gaze first one way, then the other before taking his first step with all the endurance I could manage. There was a gentle stirring of curiosity as the sarcophagus slid aside, but it proved merely some mechanical contrivance. In the next room more of the same, including a primitive pit trap and some crude altars to forgotten gods. I cheerfully reminded the party once more that I had memorized a very complex spell to detect the presence of magic in an area and was ignored, hence I gracefully began to exit the room.

Luckily for the rest so, because at the door my keen Elvish senses noted three onrushing zombies of astonishing vigor! I called a warning to the group, tossed a dart at the lead corpse (A hit! Nearly in it's eye!), and retreated sensibly beyond the pit trap we had marked.

The humans, of course, charged idiotically into the narrow corridor, dragging the poor dog with them. Slashius wisely moved forward to oversee their attack and rescue them. After a few moments of stamping, biting, slashing, and other brutality the collective good sense of the group overcame blood lust (Do zombies actually bleed?) and my shouted advice was adhered to at last. The party withdrew, baiting the enemy in where they could be surrounded. The dear dog, wounded and having slain one creature already, was their steady target and took the brunt of their assault, but the party then descended upon our foes en mass as I watched from safely behind the pit and the undead were destroyed.

Having decided that the screaming and sounds of combat had revealed our presence to any present we then engaged in a bit of tomfoolery by chucking the bits of the dismembered zombies into the pit trap until it collapsed, revealing nothing but what desperate extents adventurers will descend to in search of amusement. Around this point my brother Slashius escorted my fellow bounty hunter back to the surface for a breather.

Moving back to the main corridor we encountered an area worth searching. Poking, prodding, plodding, and all for naught, as the half human was still caught by surprise and bitten by a giant poisonous bug before the dog's spear wielding master could spit the lot of them. Fortunately one of the clerical types had wisely prepared a curative spell and our explorations behind the questing stick of the thief could continue. We discovered a doorway into a burial chamber of some kind, full of urns surrounding a tomb.

My curiosity overcame me and I moved to the front to read the name inscribed upon the tomb's door. Krexx the Maligned or some such as I recall. Sounds like the poor chap might have been wronged, at least in the eyes of the inscriptor. All the same the taller clerical fellow gave his tomb door a quick shove, allowing us all to see a corpse bedecked in gold ornaments on head and wrists. Before the half human could steal them the corpse began to rise with a grisly moan. This time my advice had time to sink in, and the group allowed the creature to move into an embrace of cold steel on every side. Though it still choked half the life out of that tall chap, it was quickly felled all the same.

Alas, as is often the case with powerful magics, the fell thing rose again. Panic rolled through the lesser minds of our group, causing all to flee at full speed but the addled and gasping wounded cleric and myself, my intellect being more than sufficient to set aside panic in favor of decisive action. The very sensible urge to preserve my life was tempered by the curiosity I felt regarding the animatory magics that must reside within this corpse, and so I determined to test it's speed and durability by retreating in a more measured manner. I withdrew until I judged that it could not reach me before I struck at it with a dart, the tall chap noisily brushing past me in his own flight and almost disturbing my aim, and prepared to toss. I paused but an instant to consider the power I was attempting to dissipate, then launched my weapon into it's chest, felling it once more.

In a twinkling I was upon it's resting body, ripping away the gold bracelets that I dearly hoped carried the animating magics. I cursorily noted that the remainder of the party was making it's way shamelessly back into the presence of the sole member who hadn't merely run for it and then invoked my power to detect magic!

Alas, there was nothing. Not even a twinkling. I checked the tomb, the crown, the urns, the whole area, and not a trace. It was just a burial chamber. I confess I rather mindlessly aided in the looting of the chamber, and I recall some tale of skeletons sent fleeing by the lads who had themselves fled, also something about barring the door while noises outside subsided, even a mad discussion of resting the night there in the tomb itself! All of this passed while I was buried in disappointment, and so when the suggestion was made that we retire from the barrow lands for the nonce I merely nodded.

The trip back was uninteresting. The proceeds from the gold ornaments and silver coins we returned with were split equitably, and I determined to restore my spirits by attempting a visit to the town's mage. I was met at the door by an acolyte who promised me arcane spells bound in scrolls to add to my knowledge, spells that would be effective in destroying the undead. I passed him the balance of the gold I carried and hurried back to my room to absorb this new knowledge.

At least the trip hadn't been a total waste, although it had been quite a disappointment. My rest was disturbed by thoughts of all we had endured, but I was certainly not dissuaded from the pursuit my bounty and my larger goals via a return to the barrows as soon as the party could make ready!


  1. Awesome! Although having the main text all in italics can get hard on the eyes after a paragraph or so...

  2. Hey Matt, thanks for stopping by, and for the feedback! I'm going to ditch the italics right now...

  3. Meh, the formatting of the text is all screwy, in Times Roman font it is too small to read. This will have to do until I figure Blogger out. Italics gone though